Styles From the 1940s for Your Dining Room

Written by elyse james
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Styles From the 1940s for Your Dining Room
Families in the 1940s used their dining room for every meal. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

During the postwar era of the 1940s, there were an estimated 6 million veteran homes that were built to deal with the housing shortage. These homes were typically no more than 1,000 square feet, so the living and dining rooms were often combined into one space. During this era, the decor is described as being retro---bright-coloured wallpapers, beautiful dark furniture and bold floral fabrics were often found throughout the home, including the dining room area.

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Dining rooms in the 1940s, just like today, often had a large family dinner table as the main focal point of the room. During this era, many manufacturers were designing tables, china cabinets and sideboards that matched the Duncan Phyfe furniture of the early 1800s. Duncan Phyfe's furniture creations grew so popular that the name is applied to any furniture done in this style. In the 1940s, much of the dining furniture was done in deep, rich wood colours. Other popular furniture brands included Heywood Wakefield, Cushman and Willett.


During the 1940s era it was not uncommon to see a dining room that was entirely covered in wallpaper. Wallpaper was often very bold, with large flower patterns or other symmetrical shapes. The paper came in a variety of colours and patterns and it was not uncommon to see wallpaper used throughout the home, not just in the dining room.

Harmony House

In 1940, Sears developed a new colour scheme known as the Harmony House collection. This decorating scheme used four main colours that could all be used in harmony together. Later, the collection was expanded to include a total of 18 colours including Tuscan rose, sage green and federal gold. It was not uncommon to see these colours, used in a variety of combinations, throughout American homes in the 1940s. Sears offered a wide variety of household objects in these colours including wallpaper, paint, upholstery fabrics, draperies, dinnerware and dinette sets.

Other Details

The dining room in the 1940s house was a very formal room. It was not uncommon for the dining room to have thick floral drapes with a matching floral tablecloth. The chairs were often upholstered in a matching coloured fabric. During this era, you might find a china cabinet that displayed the fine china, which was used on special occasions. The table was usually positioned in the centre of the room, and underneath you might find a large area rug to tie the room together.

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